MOSCOW: Hong Kong reported 85 new cases, including three that were locally transmitted, as authorities battle to control a third wave of the outbreak which has seen a resurgence in infections over the past month.
Since late January, around 3,700 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 42 of whom have died.
The latest figure was up marginally from Tuesday’s 80 cases.
Philippines confirms 3,462 more cases
The Philippines’ health ministry reported 3,462 new infections and nine additional deaths.
In a bulletin, the ministry said total infections had risen to 115,980, putting the tally just behind Indonesia’s 116,871 cases, which is the highest in East Asia.
Virus deaths in the Philippines have reached 2,123.
Indonesia reports 1,815 new cases
Indonesia recorded 1,815 new infections, bringing the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 116,871, data by the country’s health ministry showed.
There were 64 additional deaths, taking the overall number of fatalities to 5,452, the data showed
Russia’s cases surpass 865,000
Russia reported 5,204 new cases, bringing its nationwide tally to 866,627, the fourth largest case load in the world.
Russia’s coronavirus task force said 139 people had died over the last 24 hours, pushing the official death toll to 14,490.
Switzerland nears deal to get Moderna Covid vaccine
Switzerland is close to signing a deal to secure access for a coronavirus vaccine being developed by Moderna of the US, a government official has said.
Switzerland will soon sign a reservation and supply deal, Pascal Strupler, the director of the Federal Office of Public Health, told the Swiss TV programme Club late on Tuesday.
“We are only a few hours away from completing a purchase contract. With this contract we will get it very quickly,” Strupler said.
He declined to give financial details of any deal.
If the vaccine passes trials and is authorised for use, it could be produced in Switzerland under a deal between drugmaker Lonza and Moderna.
Ukraine reports record jump in cases
Ukraine recorded a record daily jump of 1,271 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the council of security and defence said.
The number of infections has increased sharply in Ukraine in the past two months as authorities have eased some restrictions, allowing cafes, churches and public transport to reopen.
Health minister Maksym Stepanov urged people to obey broader restrictions that are still in place.
“Ukrainians, the fight against coronavirus is impossible without you. The rules are very simple – the use of masks, antiseptics and a distance of 1.5 meters. Following these simple rules significantly reduces the risk of disease,” Stepanov told a televised briefing.
The total number of cases rose to 75,490, including 1,788 deaths and 41,527 recovered as of August 5.
Czechs record biggest daily jump since end-June
The Czech Republic reported its biggest daily jump in new cases since the end of June as a recent uptick in infections stays elevated.
The central European country of 10.7 million recorded 290 new cases on Tuesday, Health Ministry data showed, bringing the total number of cases detected to 17,286. Of those, 11,812 have recovered and 383 have died of the Covid-19 illness.
Germany’s confirmed cases rise by 741 to 212,022
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 741 to 212,022, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.
The reported death toll rose by 12 to 9,168, the tally showed.
Virus lockdown shuts Kashmir
Authorities enforced security restrictions in many parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir, a year after New Delhi revoked the disputed region’s semi-autonomy in a decision that set off anger and economic ruin amid a harsh security clampdown.
Officials lifted a curfew in the restive region’s main city of Srinagar late Tuesday, but said restrictions on public movement, transport and commercial activities would continue because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Government forces erected steel barricades and razor wire across many roads, bridges and intersections.
Shops and businesses remained shut and police and soldiers stopped residents at checkpoints, only letting an occasional vehicle or pedestrians pass.
Several residents said government forces stopped them at checkpoints, saying the curfew was still in place.
“You call it a curfew or virus lockdown, the fact is that we’re under a brutal siege and this siege is a year old now,” said Ishfaq Ahmed, a Srinagar resident.
On August 5, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government stripped Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood, scrapped its separate constitution and removed inherited protections on land and jobs.
New Zealand unemployment rate shows improvement
New Zealand’s unemployment rate showed a surprising improvement to 4% during the midst of the nation’s virus lockdown, although the headline number doesn’t tell the full story and joblessness is likely to increase in the months ahead.
Still, the figure was far better than most people expected and came as welcome news to the government led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ahead of a general election next month.
The figures from Statistics New Zealand showed the unemployment rate in the quarter ending June fell from 4.2% in the previous quarter. But th e number of hours worked also fell a record 10% and the number of people not in the labor force rose.
Because people who aren’t actively seeking work are not counted as unemployed, the figures didn’t reflect many job losses because most people couldn’t search for jobs during the lockdown. And many workers have been protected by a government-funded wage subsidy scheme during the pandemic which is due to expire next month.
Australian state reports record virus increase
Australia’s hot spot Victoria state announced a new record 725 cases and 15 deaths, while businesses in Melbourne city prepared to draw down their shutters as new pandemic restrictions are enforced.
The new 24-hour record was marginally higher than the 723 cases and 13 deaths reported last Thursday.
From late Wednesday, many non-essential businesses including most detail retailers, hair-dressers and gyms in Australia’s second-largest city will be closed for six weeks. People employed in essential jobs will have to carry passes under Australia’s toughest-ever lockdown restrictions.
Like Melbourne hospitals, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews announced that non-emergency surgeries will be restricted in hospitals in regional Victoria, where infections rates are lower.
“It will be very challenging, but it is necessary to drive these numbers down,” Andrews said of the new restrictions.
He added that the “notion of more than 700 cases is not sustainable.”
Brazil reports 51,603 news cases in one day – ministry
Brazil has reported 51,603 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 1,154 deaths from the disease caused by the virus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said.
Brazil has registered more than 2.8 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll from Covid-19 has risen to 95,819, according to ministry data, in the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak after the United States.
Mexico reports 857 more deaths
Mexico’s health ministry has reported 6,148 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 857 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 449,961 cases and 48,869 deaths.
The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.
Honduras to reopen domestic and international flights
Honduras has announced that it would reopen its airports to domestic and international flights in mid-August, after a nearly five-month closure due to the pandemic.
The reopening of the airport terminals is part of the government’s efforts to reactivate the economy, which is expected to contract between 7 percent and 8 percent, according to the Central Bank of Honduras.
“Under strict biosecurity measures, domestic flights will resume on Aug. 10 and international flights will resume on Aug. 17,” said Maria Antonia Rivera, minister of economic development, in a virtual presentation.
Scientists say France could lose control of virus
France could “at any moment” lose control over the spread of the coronavirus, the government’s Covid-19 scientific council warned as official data showed the first rise in intensive care patients since April.
In an opinion prepared for policy-makers, the council warned “the virus has recently been circulating more actively, with an increased loss of distancing and barrier measures” since France emerged from a strict two-month lockdown in May.
“The balance is fragile and we can change course at any time to a less controlled scenario,” it said .
The council also warned of a possible “resumption of circulation of the virus at a high level” by autumn 2020, after the August summer holidays.
In the short term, retaining control is largely in the hands of citizens, it said.
US announces clinical trial of antibody treatment
The US has begun late stage clinical trials into a drug formulated to fight Covid-19, officials said.
The medicine is an antibody against the new coronavirus called LY-CoV555, which was identified in the blood sample of a recovered patient by Canada’s Abcellera Biologics.
It was then developed synthetically for mass production by US-based Lilly Research Laboratories in partnership with Abcellera.
The Phase 3 trial — being led by Jens Lundgren, of the University of Copenhagen and Rigshospitalet — will initially enrol some 300 volunteers around the world who have been hospitalised with mild to moderate Covid-19 with fewer than 13 days of symptoms, and could expand to up to 1,000 people if the medicine appears safe and effective after the fifth day.
The trial’s main goal is the patients’ sustained recovery for 14 days after release from the hospital.